American facing 700 sex charges
Police say man met young Kingston teen through Internet

By Tamsin McMahon
Local News - Friday, August 13, 2004 @ 07:00

A 45-year-old Pennsylvania man faces more than

700 charges of having sex with a dozen young girls across North America, including one Kingston teen.

Yesterday, a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Steven Edward Kline of Bellefonte, Pa., on four federal charges related to producing child pornography and travelling across the border to have sex with a minor.

The charges came after a joint investigation between Kingston Police and the FBI into Kline’s alleged involvement with a 14-year-old Kingston girl, whom police say he met in an Internet chat room.

An employee of a tire store in central Pennsylvania, Kline faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 110 years and a $1-million fine if convicted of the federal crimes, said Christian Fisanick, assistant U.S. attorney and chief of the criminal division.

Kingston Police say the Kingston teen had been chatting with a man online for several weeks before the man lured the girl into a meeting in Kingston.

The man did not try to disguise his identity from the Kingston girl when they were chatting, police said.

The man drove to Kingston on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and stayed at a west-end motel, where he had sex with the girl at least once and took pictures of her, police said.

In February, the girl’s mother discovered “inappropriate” e-mails and pictures on their computer that were apparently sent by the man, said Det. Staff Sgt. Larry Edwards.

The mother contacted police, who launched an investigation along with the FBI, who was investigating Kline for alleged sexual contact with underage girls in five U.S. states.

Edwards said there is a period of time during the man’s visit to Kingston that can’t be accounted for and police suspect there may be other victims in the area.

They are considering releasing the man’s photo in hopes that other victims or their families will come forward, he said.

“We want to make sure there are no other victims in our immediate area,” he said. “If there are, we want to get them treatment and therapy. We don’t want to leave young teenage people, 13, 14, 15 years of age without recognizing that they may be in trouble over this and need some special care.”

Along with the federal charges, Kline faces more than 700 state charges that he had sexual contact with at least a dozen girls 14 years old or younger in Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, Iowa, Illinois and Kingston.

The charges include rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of a minor, unlawful contact with a minor and luring a minor into a motor vehicle.

Kingston Police reviewed more than 90,000 often-explicit computer images and found as many as a dozen “that pertain directly to this investigation and tied the suspect and the victim,” Edwards said.

The charges were laid by the FBI’s Williamsport, Pa., bureau and Edwards said Kingston Police likely won’t try to lay charges against Kline or have him extradited to Canada.

“We feel at this point that although it’s in an early stage, he likely will be dealt with quite severely and he’ll not be in a position to reoffend for a long time to come,” Edwards said.

Yesterday, Edwards and Det. Stephanie Morgan of the Kingston

Police sexual assault unit testified

before a grand jury convened in Williamsport, Pa.

They presented motel receipts, along with e-mails and photos taken from the girl’s computer.

Edwards said he was pleased that jurors indicted Kline on all four charges that were presented to them.

“I knew and I know that the evidence is there,” he said. “But, unfortunately, there are the legal hurdles and once you get through them you feel good as each step is completed.”

Edwards said he expected a conviction against Kline “without question.”

Kline has been held in custody by Pennsylvania state authorities for several weeks and will appear in court in the coming weeks to determine whether he will be granted a pretrial release, Fisanick said.

The Kingston victim is receiving medical treatment and therapy and is doing well, Edwards said.

She didn’t testify at the grand jury, which convenes in private to decide if someone should be charged with a crime.

Edwards said police will do everything to prevent her from having to testify before any court as part of prosecuting Kline.

“It would be quite an ordeal to go through and at this point we feel there is enough evidence that is very tight, not circumstantial,” he said. “It’s very concrete and we’re happy that our investigation has been going the way that it has been.”

The Kingston Police investigation, which is continuing, has taken several months as police tried to confirm the man’s identity, even travelling to Pennsylvania as well as assisting FBI agents in Kingston.